Unilver takes "radical step" on palm oil supply chain transparency

By James Henderson
Unilever says it has become the first consumer goods company to publicly disclose the suppliers and mills it sources from, both directly and indirectly...

Unilever says it has become the first consumer goods company to publicly disclose the suppliers and mills it sources from, both directly and indirectly.

The company hailed the move as a major milestone in its continued drive for a more sustainable palm oil industry.

Unilever first launched its Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Policy in 2013.

It said that the approach means better visibility of where palm oil comes from, it also enables it to more proactively identify issues, and address them quickly and effectively.

As a result of this data being available we are making it is easier for others to bring demonstrable challenges and insights to Unilever’s attention, enabling the company to investigate and work to remedy the issues alongside suppliers, NGO partners, governments and other stakeholders.

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“A lot of people think if you outsource your value chain you can outsource your responsibilities. I don’t think so.” said CEO Paul Polman at a panel at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

“We need to be at the forefront of change. This is why Unilever is committed to greater transparency and continue to work with our partners to drive positive change in the palm oil industry.”

Unilever’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, Marc Engel, said: “We have been long committed to lead the drive towards transparency and the best way to demonstrate this is by opening up our own supply chain.

“Due to traditional commercial sensitivities and the complexity of the palm oil supply chain, it has required perseverance to get to where we are now. We are very proud to be the first consumer goods company to take this step. Unilever believes that complete transparency is needed for radical transformation. We want this step to be the start of a new industry-wide movement.”

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